Solvency II is the number one concern for European insurance firms. Actuaries working on projects related the regulation are commanding 1,100 a day and now technologists are being recruited at an "unprecedented" rate to deal with new IT problems.
With insurance firms scrambling to comply with the capital adequacy regulation by the end of 2012, they're fighting to recruit technologists (largely on a contract basis) to handle the huge data challenges the regulation is presenting.
"Solvency II has huge implications around the quality of data and how it is handled, extracted and stored," says Chris Potter, partner in the risk assurance practice at PwC. "It's particularly a problem at large insurance firms where a number of policy administration, underwriting and actuarial systems can be 20-30 years old and span a number of different legacy organisations."
Because these transformation projects are finite, and will end once the regulation has been enforced, most of the new roles are on a contract basis, says Paul Byrne, who heads up the insurance practice at tech recruiters McGregor Boyall. The rate at which techies are being recruited is "unprecedented", though, he claims.
Day rates for technologists at the senior end can be very lucrative. A project director can expect 1,000-2,000 a day, a programme manager 750-1,000, a project manager 550-750, a business analyst 550 and architects 550-700, says Byrne.
"All these regulatory programmes need interim and contract resources which is driving demand for project directors, programme managers, project managers, business analysts and architects - particularly those who have had previous experience of the implementation of large regulatory change projects," he says.
It's not all good news for technologists working within large insurance firms, however. Solvency II tech projects are complex and have a clear deadline, which means a bigger slice of the IT budget is being allocated towards them, often at the expense of other technology initiatives.
"Clearly discretionary projects have fallen by the wayside as more money is allocated to the mandatory work," says Potter. "There's a lot more outsourcing of technology work by insurance firms, which has lead to a fundamental shift in the opportunities available to IT professionals. Working in IT in an insurance firm is no longer a job for life."